Cross My Heart by Carmen Reid has won the 20th Angus Book Award for 2015.
The winning book was revealed at a ceremony at Montrose Town Hall in front of an audience of appreciative secondary school pupils.
Other authors shortlisted for this year’s award were CJ Flood, Alan Gibbons and Chris Priestley for their respective titles, Infinite Sky, Raining Fire and Through Dead Eyes.
Angus pupils have been reading their way through the four books over recent months before voting for their favourite in a secret ballot.
Carmen Reid’s winning entry is set in 1940 with Europe under siege by the Nazis. The book’s heroine, 15-year-old Nicole, joins a secret group of freedom fighters to battle against the enemy.
Inspired by real people, real events and real places, the book asks its reader: “How far would you go for freedom? Would you lie to your family? Break up with your best friend? Follow the boy you love into danger? Would you risk your life?”
Carmen Reid was born and raised on a farm near Montrose. On leaving school she went to London to study English literature at University College before returning to Scotland to take up a career as a local newspaper reporter.
She returned to London and worked for news agencies and national papers then pursued a career as a fiction writer.
On winning the award, she said: “I’m really surprised and delighted and just totally honoured to win this award. Thank you to everyone involved.”
The annual Angus Book Award began in 1996 and is aimed at encouraging teenagers to read for enjoyment. It gives committed young bibliophiles, as well as the less enthusiastic readers, the chance to engage with new, rewarding and accessible books for teenagers.
In addition to reading the selected stories, pupils were encouraged to creatively respond to the books and take part in art and “book blurb” competitions themed around the entries.
The children were encouraged to form their own opinions about which book or books appealed to them the most and the one or ones they found harder to absorb and invest in.